The rapid growth in debit card transactions has intensified the philosophical debate and raised the business stakes in the contest between the two variations of debit.

The alternatives have been on a collision course for years, but the major bank card associations are increasingly under fire for their advocacy of off-line debit processing. Though transaction amounts are debited directly from checking accounts, they clear via the MasterCard and Visa credit card settlement networks, which entails a delay of more than a day before the actual debit.

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